Republicans should just remove “rape” from their vocabulary

That’s basically how my friend on FB put it when he linked this.  Pretty solid advice.  The latest:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The leader of a conservative faction within the California Republican Party said pregnancies by rape are rare because a woman’s body is traumatized by the violence, recalling remarks that derailed a U.S. Senate candidate’s campaign last year.

Celeste Greig, president of the California Republican Assembly, made the remarks to the San Jose Mercury News , ahead of this weekend’s state GOP convention in Sacramento.

Greig was responding to a question about former Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, who last year said women’s bodies have the power to prevent pregnancy — or “shut that whole thing down” — after what he termed “a legitimate rape.”

Greig said Akin’s comment was insensitive and required an apology, but she then gave a similar remark.

“Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it’s an act of violence, because the body is traumatized,” Greig told the newspaper. “I don’t know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don’t know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act.”

No additional comment necessary.

Even more local news fun!

This is for Itchy, who cannot stand local news.  Buzzfeed put together “38 Best local news captions of all time.”  Here’s a couple.  Laugh out loud funny.

Aussie Pride

really need to do some political science with the World Values Survey one of these days.  It’s pretty awesome.  I was playing around with random combinations of interesting things today and liked this little chart of national identity/pride across four nations (you can do pretty much any basic comparisons you want on-line– it’a pretty awesome):


Anyway, Australians are even more proud of their country than Americans.  And the Chinese– wow, not so much.  More fun data in the future.  Or make your own.

Photo of the day

From a Big Picture set of World Press photo contest winners:

1st Prize Sports – Sports Action Single – Wei Seng Chen/Malaysia – Pacu Jawi Bull Race, Indonesia – Feb. 12, 2012, Batu Sangkar, West Sumatra, Indonesia. A jockey, his feet stepped into a harness strapped to the bulls and clutching their tails, shows relief and joy at the end of a dangerous run across rice fields. The Pacu Jawi (bull race) is a popular competition at the end of harvest season keenly contested between villages

The power (or lack thereof) of the President

Great post by Ryan Lizza on the power of the presidency yesterday.  A nice rejoinder to all those who just want Obama to somehow magically (Jedi-style) or otherwise, lead us out of an impasse with a radical and itractable set of Republicans in the House.  The real key to presidential leadership?  Math.  Lizza:

A fundamental fact of modern political life is that the only way to advance a coherent agenda in Washington is through partisan dominance. When Obama had large Democratic majorities in Congress during his first two years in office, he led one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. After he lost the House, his agenda froze and the current status quo of serial fiscal crises began. Like it or not, for many years, Washington has been most productive when one party controlled both Congress and the White House.

The boring fact of our system is that congressional math is the best predictor of a President’s success. This idea is not nearly as sexy as the notion that great Presidents are great because they twist arms in backrooms and inspire the American people to rise up and force Congress to bend to their will. But even the Presidents who are remembered for their relentless congressional lobbying and socializing were more often than not successful for more mundane reasons—like arithmetic.

It’s also worth noting that when there were clear exceptions to this, presidents often had an ideological majority– if not a partisan majority– back when the parties were not so well ideologically sorted.  E.g., Reagan could work with many Southern Democrats added to his Republican House minority to create a working majority on many issues.

Anyway, not to say  that presidential leadership doesn’t matter.  But math matters a lot more.  Sadly, most political journalists love to focus on personalities and find math (0kay, we’re really talking institutional constraints here) boring.

Asian Americans

Nice to see Gallup give some attention to Asian-American partisanship, to me, one of the under-reported of the 2012 campaign.  As I wrote back in November:

Shorter version: the Republican Party is the Party of white people.  And Southern white people at that.  Regardless of where they may stand on issues– and Posner can really only infer on some of them– I think it’s more identity politics.  Sure Asian-American voters don’t get the attention of Black and Hispanic voters, but there no less likely to understand who the Republican party stands for.  And it’s not them…

So, my theory: Asian-Americans perceive the Republican Party as hostile and Democratic Party as welcoming for non-issue based reasons (as discussed above) –> Asian-Americans identify as Democrats –> Asian-Americans adopt more liberal views not only on social issues but scope of government as well.

Anyway, here’s the Gallup chart on PID of Asian-Americans:

Party Identification Among Asian-Americans and U.S. Adults

It is notable that so many are Independent leaners, rather than avowed partisans, but at election time that distinction rarely makes much difference.  That said, this is clearly not a firmly Democratic  bloc and it is certainly possible to have meaningful movement in either direction.  That said, barring substantial changes in the Republican party– which I’m not exactly expecting any time soon– I strongly expect this small, but fast-growing– group of voters will only become more firmly Democratic.

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